In the past few years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have added a lot of quality free agents in the months leading up to the regular season. Free agents who ended up playing crucial roles on some bad teams. Gosder Cherilus was signed in preseason last year, when Demar Dotson went down with injury. Joe Hawley became a Buc early in the regular season. And in 2014, they traded for Logan Mankins and signed Larry English during the preseason.
This year, we're likely to see the same thing. But which free agents could the Bucs still sign? Let's take a look, using James Brady's list of best available free agents over at SB Nation.
WR Anquan Boldin
The Bucs didn't draft a receiver, and they didn't sign one in free agency. They do have some depth at this position, but it's a very fragile group. That's what we saw last year, when injuries had the Bucs down to starting multiple undrafted free agents at the end of the season. Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans are two very good starters, but Kenny Bell is still a mystery, Adam Humphries an okay slot receiver but not much more than that, and Louis Murphy is returning from a bad knee injury.
While the Bucs don't quite need another receiver, that could change quickly If Bell doesn't develop the way the Bucs hope, or Murphy's recovery from ACL surgery limits him going forward, or Evans or Jackson suffers a catastrophic injury. Anquan Boldin, Marques Colston and Roddy White (who has experience playing under Dirk Koetter) would be potential free agent additions late in the game.
DE Dwight Freeney
The Bucs added one true, edge, pass-rush specialist this offseason: second-round pick Noah Spence. Robert Ayers is more of a base defensive end/inside pass rusher. That may not be enough, especially given the limited production most first-year edge rushers manage. Dwight Freeney, who had eight sacks in limited time last year, could help there -- not just as a pass-rush specialist, but also as a bit of a mentor for Spence and even Jacquies Smith.
S William Moore
The Bucs' group of safeties is fairly lackluster, with Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald set to be the starters. Adding some talent there wouldn't be a bad idea. The Bucs drafted Ryan Smith in the fourth round to help out there, but his small school and draft status will likely limit him to sub packages at most early in his career. Moore isn't great, either, and has slowed down considerably, but he'd bring some veteran punch and experience playing in Mike Smith's system.
Walter Thurmond would also be an outstanding addition, but he's reportedly considering retirement, which is probably why he's even available.